- Showing 6 posts filed under: Support [–] published between Dec 01, 2009 and Dec 31, 2009 [Show all]
Volunteer statements: “every Circle is my favorite”, “I needed this Circle more than anyone here”
Once and awhile I get tired. I get tired and lonely and frustrated. I wonder why I am a workaholic and kick myself for doing this to myself. I keep repeating a cycle. Then I am in Circle and people say things that catch me off guard.
Suddenly someone is talking about surviving physical abuse as a child. As most of us look at the paper plates on the floor, because the speaker is explaining how her teachers, police officers and social workers used these values to get her safe. She expresses this and only starts to tear up at the end. No one interrupts, no rescuing comments, no affirming “thanks for sharing”. Because that is how Circle works. We tell the truth one person at a time.
The need for a new kind of justice in youth crime
As the two leading providers of restorative justice for youth in Sonoma County — Restorative Resources and RECOURSE Mediation Services — we know what works when dealing with youthful offenders, and why. The restorative justice practices used by our non-profit agencies are firmly focused on repairing harm done to people and relationships, rather than imposing a punishment disconnected from the needs of those harmed. Restorative justice gives victims a voice in how they want things to be “made right.”
The evidence shows that in communities, including school communities, restorative practices build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision-making. When there is wrongdoing, everyone affected by the behavior gets to play an active role in addressing the wrong and making things right. This goes far beyond punishment; it makes real, positive change possible.
Platforms for a restorative society in Northern Ireland
Reconciliation has been an important concept in building relationships and structures in Northern Ireland that lessen the harm done to people in the midst of conflict. It is also an important concept in the language of Track One, Two and Three conflict transformation strategies.
Central to reconciliation is the promotion of right relationships and the securing of agreements and structural arrangements that build a new acknowledgement and respect between those seen as ‘different others’. Such work seeks to right previous imbalances and wrongs. Important elements of that agenda in Northern Ireland include the drive for legal remedies and new laws on equality, good relations, human rights, harassment and hate crime, and the exploration of how the past is acknowledged and how victims are respected and remembered.
As a transcending idea, reconciliation continually challenges current ways of living with different and previously estranged others. However, it is a concept that many men and women have difficulty applying to their own actions. There is a tendency to see it as an activity for others in important positions, rather than as something all citizens must contribute to as part of their daily endeavours.
Revise laws to lower prison costs, keep everyone safer
Michigan has more than an economic crisis -- we have a crime crisis, too. And we won't be able to solve the overall budget shortfall without making significant cuts in the corrections budget. Our current criminal justice system is costing us over a billion dollars a year, far more than our neighboring states are spending. Yet despite this huge expense for corrections, our communities are still plagued by crime.
Here are a few troubling facts:
- Michigan's violent crime rate is higher than all other states in the Great Lakes region.
- Corrections is the third most expensive item in Michigan's budget, with only health care and education costing more.
- The Michigan Department of Corrections employs one out of every three state workers....
But we have good news....
10 ways to live restoratively
1. Take relationships seriously, envisioning yourself in an interconnected web of people, institutions and the environment.
2. Try to be aware of the impact - potential as well as actual - of your actions on others and the environment.
3. When your actions negatively impact others, take responsibility by acknowledging and seeking to repair the harm - even when you could probably get away with avoiding or denying it. (To craft a letter of apology, see the Apology Letter website developed by Loreen Walker and Ben Furman.)
4. Treat everyone respectfully, even those you don’t expect to encounter again, even those you feel don’t deserve it, even those who have harmed or offended you or others.
5. Involve those affected by a decision, as much as possible, in the decision-making process.
Making Good in England: Engaging with the public for restorative justice reform
by Dan Van Ness
There is no more interesting laboratory for restorative justice implementation right now than England and Wales. For several years the government has embarked on a campaign to mainstream restorative responses in the Youth Justice System. One of the characteristics of this effort – at least as viewed from outside – has been a willingness to try new approaches.
The Youth Justice System is overseen by the Youth Justice Board, whose website is well worth reviewing by any other government attempting to place restorative values and processes in the context of a complete systemic response. Its section on the Youth Justice System is rich with information, and is frequently updated.
One new feature is the Making Good Project, which invites members of the public from North West England to propose community reparation activities to assign to young offenders. It offers examples of reparation projects currently used (along with testimonials from young offenders and the beneficiaries of their work). After outlining the guidelines to determine acceptable projects, it invites public recommendations. It even features a new blog which is expected to relate stories about reparation and youth justice. These are admirable (and exemplary) efforts to recruit support from the general public.